Anyone who knows me and knows a smidgeon about living gluten-free would understand my undying love for a certain chain of casual dining, quality-food Chinese restaurants. Needless to say, though I had been there once before my diet switch, it was the first on my list after I cut gluten out of my life. There is such a detailed routine to their gluten-free items, menu, preparation, and presentation that it takes much of the restaurant stress out of dining-out. Before and after losing the gluten, I ordered the Spicy Chicken dish on the menu. I’m a sucker for General Tso’s chicken and this fruity take was my instant favorite.
So it is not so surprising that I soon went looking for a recipe for recreating my favorite dish. I found countless recipes and knock-offs, but this one looked the most likely. Not too mention, I kept finding this recipe over and over again. That’s usually a pretty good sign. I also liked that I would not have to ‘use a flour mix’. Instead of breading the chicken in flour, this only coats them with cornstarch. That makes the end result very similar to the popular restuarant’s chicken. As mentioned, I found this recipe several different times. I, personally, followed it on Meemo’s Kitchen, the first time I tested the recipe, but, since then, her blog has been taken off line.
Can anyone guess the “secret ingredient”? I never would have. It wasn’t until I saw this fruity addition that I actually recognized the sweet flavor in the sauce…But, with further adieu:
Restaurant-Style Asian Spicy Chicken (P.F. Chang’s Knock-Off)
·2 tsp oil (canola, vegetable, or coconut)
·1½ Tbsp garlic, minced
·3 green onions, sliced
·1 c. pineapple juice
·1 Tbsp sriracha chili sauce
-1 Tbsp sweet-chili or garlic-chili sauce
·2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
·4 tsp white sugar
·1 tsp tamari
·2 Tbsp water
·1 tsp cornstarch
·2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
·⅓ cup cornstarch
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion for a few seconds, until fragrant, then add pineapple juice, sriracha sauce, sweet chili sauce, vinegar, sugar, and tamari.
Whisk 1 teaspoon cornstarch intp 2 tablespoons water and add it to the other sauce ingredients in the pan. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, or until beginning to thicken. Remove from heat.
In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1/4 cup oil in the pan over medium heat. Toss chicken pieces with cornstarch in a bowl until all pieces are evenly coated. Sauté chicken in the oil, flipping every few minutes until all sides are light brown. Do not overcrowd the pan. Remove chicken to a plate and drain excess oil with paper towels. OR place chicken pieces on a baking pan, mist lightly with cooking oil spray and bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Allow chicken to cool slightly, then pour chicken pieces into the saucepot. Toss with sauce until all pieces are coated.
Serve with cooked brown or white rice, a la classic restaurant presentation.
For extra vegggies and vitamins, or just to mix things up a little, try sauté-ing pineapple chunks and chopped red pepper, or even snow peas (as I did in the photo) while the chicken is baking/frying, and adding the vegetables to the sauce when mixing in the chicken.